Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Isabelita Manalastas- Watanabe


Send questions to: Take It Or Leave It!

September-October 2013

Dear Tita Lita,

Tanong ko lang po about the tourist visa from the Philippines to Japan. Since Japan wanted to bring in more tourists here, Japan Embassy in Manila now gives multiple entry tourist visas now to Filipinos. Is it true also that it's easier to be granted tourist visas now unlike before when they were so strict granting these visas? Or is it still strict as before?


Dear Pablo:

I am not sure if it is easier now to be granted a visa or not.  I do know, however, that someone I know, who has entered Japan previously, and who applied to enter again on tourist/short-term stay visa, got rejected.  And he applied during the time when the new visa policy of giving multiple entry to Filipinos was already in place.

Regarding multiple entry – many misinterpret what this means.  It means that if you were granted a one year multiple entry visa, you can enter Japan within a maximum period of time (normally max of 90 days).  When you exit Japan, you can again re-enter, for as long as your intended stay is within the one year multiple entry visa that was given to you.

Again, I know someone who got a one year multiple entry visa.  On his third entry, and within still the valid period of his one year visa, he was questioned at the immigration in Narita on why he keeps coming to Japan.

Well, one thing sure, we cannot question the Japanese Embassy visa section on why our visa is denied, if it is denied.  It is their call, and they are not bound by any rules to reveal the reason. And we cannot complain if the immigration officer in Narita or any other entry point in Japan questions us on why we are again visiting Japan.  Immigration officer may want to be convinced that we will not become TNT and will depart Japan within the allowed number of days stay given to us.


Tita Lita

Dear Tita Lita,

You mentioned before about investing in a house and condo in your column. I would like to invest in buying condos in the Philippines. There are so many real estate in the market now offering condos with varied range in prices. Can you give me some pointers in buying condos?


Dear Carrie:

Anyway, you are right. There are so many real estate companies to choose from.  In Japan, there are several who employ marketing agents/people, who then introduce their companies’ various properties.

I suggest:
(1) Check out the area if it is not prone to flooding,
(2) Surely, there will be more than one real estate company operating in the same area where you are interested to purchase a condo. Compare their per square meter price. Also the various amenities offered;
(3) Check-out what security is provided by the real estate company for the building where you plan to purchase one unit;
(4) If you intend to lease the condo you will buy, do not buy a very big one as it will be more difficult to get a tenant to rent it.  A one-room condo may be faster to lease;
(5) If you have cash, best to arrange for a bigger down payment, and lower monthly amortization payments.  The less number of years you decide to pay, the less will be the total cost for you (interest payments/ charges) for the condo you will purchase. But of course, you have to be able to determine your disposable income (income you do not need for all your basic necessities, and which you can therefore use to invest).

Tita Lita

Dear Tita Lita,

Lilipat na po kasi ang pamilya ko from Pinas to Japan. Meron po bang delivery na mura na tulad ng mga balikbayan box from Pinas to Japan? Hirap po talaga ng naglilipat. Kumpanya sana ng husband ko ang magbabayad ngunit bigla siyang tumigil sa trabaho. Kaya ngayon, kami na ang dapat magbayad sa paglipat. Sana matulungan ninyo kami.


Hello, Nena:

Tingin ko, hindi ka dapat magdala ng maraming bagay sa Japan. Lahat naman ng kakailanganin mo, available sa Japan.  Hindi ko alam kung ang kumpanya ng husband mo ang magbabayad ng inyong tirahan sa Japan. Sa tantiya ko, kahit sila ang magbayad, medyo hindi siguro kalakihan ang iyong housing allowance (dahil nga, kahit shipment lang, dinis-approve nila).  Alam mo na sigurado kung gaano kaliit ang mga “mansion” dito sa Japan.  Baka hindi magkasya ang inyong furniture at ibang gamit sa Pilipinas.

Alam mo ba ang Salvation Army sa Tokyo?  Ang daming mga gamit doon na murang-mura – futon, beds, table and chairs, plates, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc.  Kasi mga donation lang ang mga ito sa Salvation Army. Tapos, ibebenta naman ng Salvation Army ng murang-mura at ang proceeds ay para sa kanilang fund raising for various good causes.

Kung may dapat kang dalhin, baka mga gamot which will last you mga at least 3 months.  Ang alam ko, pwedeng magbigay ng reseta ang Philippine doctor ninyo for 3 months supply. Dalhin ang reseta kasama ang gamot para ipakita sa customs sa Japan in case tanungin ano ang mga gamot na dala ninyo. After around 3 months, sigurado naman, mayroon na kayong makukuhang clinic/doctor dito sa Japan na kung saan kayo magpapatingin/ magpapa-reseta ng gamot.

Tita Lita

Dear Tita Lita,

Ano po ba ang dapat gawin ng isang kilala kong Pinoy? Wala po siyang bisa. Na-aksidente po siya sa pabrika habang nag-ta-trabaho. Nasa ospital po siya ngayon. Meron pong binigay na konting pera yung kumpanya niya. Napilay na po yung paa niya kaya hindi na siya pwedeng makalakad ng husto. Ayaw naman po niyang umuwi sapagkat wala rin po siyang ipon. Minsan, tinutulungan namin siya at nagbibigay kami ng pagkain. Paano kaya ang dapat gawin niya?


Dear Mirasol:

Walang kalaban-laban itong ating kababayan para habulin ang employer niya for more assistance.  Kapag nag-report naman siya sa authorities, although mapaparusahan sigurado ang kanyang employer (basically for employing someone without the proper working visa), baka naman ma-deport naman siya. May mga free legal assistance na available.  Best kung mag-konsulta siya on what can be done to get more assistance from his employer.  Palagi kong naririnig sa pari sa Roppongi Franciscan Chapel, na may mga volunteers na nagbibisita kung minsan sa chapel center, on a fixed date/time, para magbigay ng free legal advice.

Please contact Franciscan Chapel Center and ask kung kailan ang next schedule:

Franciscan Chapel Center, 4-2-37 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo 106-0032.  Office hours:  M-F, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Tel. 03-3401-2141/2142.

Dear Tita Lita,

I am a Filipino woman working in a big company in Tokyo. I have a problem with my co-worker. Actually, I was supposed to be promoted to manager, being the longest working staff and the oldest in my section. However, the company hired someone to fill up the vacant position of manager. She is a bilingual Japanese and much younger than me. She seems to hate me and says bad things about me to our bosses although she is good in front of me. One time, we had an argument about a project issue. I don't feel happy working for my company anymore and it feels like a battle ground in the office. People seem to be racing against each other even to the point of doing bad things. I wonder if you have experienced the same situations. How have you handled them?


Dear Belinda:

It is very strange that the Japanese lady who got the Manager position, will still have any need to try to destroy your name and your reputation. She will not get anything from doing this.  If it was her who was supposed to be promoted, and then instead, management chose you to be the Manager, then I can understand if she behaves the way she does.

Do not make a hasty decision of leaving your company.  I know you are in an unhappy situation, but you have to be realistic.  It is not very easy to get a good job in Japan, well maybe not as good as what you have right now.  And opportunities will relatively be more limited, if you are not fluent in Japanese. Do not let yourself be dragged to the rat race.  Just continue doing good work, and be a little more patient.  Your company will sooner or later find out about the bad character of this lady manager, and will know that you are good in your work, and will give you the necessary break.

And you know, sometimes what happens to us have meanings which will not be very clear to us at the moment.  Some time in the future, you will realize, “kaya pala…”.  We just have to trust in the Lord.

I had the same disappointment as what you have experienced, when I was very young.  My first job was at the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority), and I was heading the ASEAN desk.  At that time, parang kulelat ako, kasi nga, sikat iyong mga naka-assign sa North America and European desks. Travel sila sa kanilang area – in the US, in many countries in Europe, whereas ang travels ko, sa Asia “lang”.   Turned out the Lord had plans for me.  It was my assignment in the ASEAN desk that was instrumental to starting my move upwards in my professional career, culminating in my being here in Japan as an entrepreneur.

So keep praying for guidance.  Consider that what that lady manager does to you, will just strengthen your character, will challenge you to prove your worth, and then, to finally succeed in whatever you decide to put your sights to.


Tita Lita

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